NORFOLK - It was slower than usual getting through the Downtown Tunnel from Norfolk to Portsmouth Thursday morning.

For three hours, to include the beginning of the morning rush, one westbound lane was closed so crews could fix a leaking pipe.

Elizabeth River Crossings, which operates the facility, said the cold weather caused a small leak in a 4-inch cross-pipe of the fire suppression system. It was noticed around 4:30 a.m. and crews closed the right lane to make repairs to the pipe and the roadway.

During the closure, there were times when the traffic was stopped in both lanes, creating a several mile back-up for part of the morning.

A post to the WVEC Facebook page summed up drivers' frustrations.

'That tunnel is a nightmare...both directions every hour of the day,' wrote Bethany Upton.

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